Celebrating CWE

“I’m not looking for a hand out, I’m looking for a hand up.”

                                                   ~Beverly Hilaire

When people get together for a worthy cause, the result is truly empowering. Last weekend, I was fortunate to attend the Center for Women and Enterprise 2015 Annual Auction & Gala at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. CWE is a non-profit that provides professional guidance and resources to aspiring female entrepreneurs. After 20 successful years, the organization has become a prominent force in the New England region, offering thorough in-class training and networking opportunities.


In keeping with the theme of the gala, Lights.Camera.Action, guests were transported to Hollywood, with props and celebrity impersonators making an ode to pop culture. During the first half of the evening, attendees partook in a silent auction, boasting attractive packages up for bid from exotic vacation getaways to exclusive restaurant deals. Once the auctioneer declared time’s up, the doors opened to the main room where the rest of the function took place. I sat at a beautifully decorated table as a guest of The Locator Services Group (recipient of CWE’s WBENC-Certified Business of the year 2014). After an introduction from 7 News Boston Anchor Janet Wu and a taped speech from CWE co-founder Susan Hammond, the Rising Star Award was given to Beverly Hilaire, owner of A Sweet Place in Dorchester who showcased strong work ethic throughout the course of her studies. Following remarks from CWE President & CEO Susan Rittscher and Chair Susan Penta, the live auction kicked off and raised thousands of dollars towards scholarships for the next crop of female business leaders.


The event’s main takeaway was the power of encouragement. Now more than ever, mentorship is valued as a critical step in career and leadership development. Thanks to CWE, women of all backgrounds have a space for building the skills necessary to bring their visions to action. 


Have you sought out professional guidance from business networks? Was the experience beneficial? 

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  1. I wholly support the mission of CWE. Plenty of women have skills but need guidance into the world of entrepreneurship. I love that centers like these around the country are giving folks a hand up:)

    • I completely agree Jacqueline! Thanks for your response.

  2. I have attended several business seminars/networking events and have gained from each.

    Being in the company of successful women inspires me especially those who are rearing children, running a home, taking on other responsibilities.

    • Thanks for your response Phoenicia. I have huge admiration for women who multitask while pursuing their career path. It takes a lot of dedication to see through to one’s professional goals while being responsible for others.

  3. That sounds very worthwhile and a lot of fun. CWE is such a great resource for those wanting to become entrepreneurs.

    • Thanks for your response Beth. It’s so encouraging to see the great work that is being done by organizations like CWE.

  4. I am not familiar with CWE but it sounds like a worthwhile organization. And the Gala looks like it was a lot of fun. Mentorship, formal or informal, is important.

    • Thanks for your response Donna. The gala was one of a kind, especially given the cause it was supporting. I agree that advice in any form is appreciated.

  5. Looks like a wonderful event and organization. My background is in sales and marketing so I’ve attended MANY conferences and it’s always inspiring and educational.

    • Thanks for your response Marquita. Conferences are a great way to soak up valuable knowledge and establish professional connections. What’s your favorite conference that you’ve attended?

  6. This is nice to learn about the CWE–I had not heard of them. In Pittsburgh, CWE stands for Chatham (University) Women’s Entrepreneur program. Love the coincidence.

    • Thanks for your response Rose. I’m always happy to being attention to organizations like CWE. The coincidence is great and encouraging because there can never be too many entrepreneurship resources out there.

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